On Sunday, Warner Brothers announced it was halting production on “Bachelor in Paradise” — a spinoff of ABC’s “The Bachelor” franchise — after DeMario Jackson was accused of sexually assaulting fellow contestant Corinne Olympios.
“We have become aware of allegations of misconduct on the set of ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ in Mexico,” the production company said in a statement. “We have suspended production and we are conducting a thorough investigation of these allegations. Once the investigation is complete, we will take appropriate responsive action.”
The show’s fourth season, set in Sayulita, Mexico, was set to premiere on August 8.
In a series of text messages obtained by The New York Post, Jackson maintained his innocence and told an unknown acquaintance that he believed footage of the alleged assault will corroborate his account.
Both Olympios and Jackson released separate statements through their respective representatives on Wednesday. In hers, Olympios confirmed that she’s “retained a group of professionals . . . including hiring a lawyer.”
“I am a victim and have spent the last week trying to make sense of what happened on June 4. Although I have little memory of that night, something bad obviously took place,” she said. “As a woman, this is my worst nightmare and it has now become my reality.”
In his statement, Jackson said, “It’s unfortunate that my character and family name has been assassinated this past week with false claims and malicious allegations.” He added, “I will be taking swift and appropriate legal action until my name is cleared and, per the advice of legal counsel, will be seeking all available remedies entitled to me under the laws.”
Absent the footage, there’s no concrete evidence proving or disproving either claim. Should the sexual assault allegations be proven even half-true, though, the question will be: To what extent did producers facilitate the encounter? And, thus, to what extent should they be held accountable?
TMZ got ahold of the “Bachelor in Paradise” contracts, in which contestants sign away their right to sue the show in the event of “personal injury (including without limitation, any injuries arising out of the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease or unwelcome/unlawful contact or other interaction among participants).”
So in a strictly legal sense, the show’s producers are not accountable for what allegedly took place.
But, “There’s a catch,” TMZ added, “courts have made it clear in situations involving similar contracts, if the producers were reckless that clause would not be enforceable. And it would seem watching someone incapable of giving consent to sexual activity and allowing it to happen . . . is reckless.”